Since its launch in November 2021, Microsoft has been hard at work on the next major update to Windows 11, slated to be called Sun Valley 2, which will launch later this year.
While the February update was released recently, showing the return of Windows Media Player and the ability to preview Android apps in the Microsoft Store, another update has been tested bringing new features. ‘Open with’ is better and more.
Given the company’s push to bring important features back at a faster rate, compared to the six-month schedule Windows 10 already has, we could see Sun Valley 2 arrive sooner.
As we start building a picture of what’s to come, here’s everything we know so far about the first major update to Windows 11.
- What is it? Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’ is the first major update for Windows 11
- When is it out? Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’ expected in Q2 2022
- How much does it cost? Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’ will be a free update for all users
Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’ Release Date
There is currently no confirmed release date for the Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’ update. Microsoft’s Windows 11 update release schedule is now once a year, compared to every two years with Windows 10 previously.
There have been a lot of improvements in the Windows Insider channels, allowing users to test out features in development. But it looks like Microsoft is bringing all of this into the first major Windows 11 update.
Although the operating system was released in November 2021, it was announced in June that it would be a good time to release Sun Valley 2 with some outstanding features.
Speculation Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’
After months of speculation, Microsoft confirmed the name ’22H2′ in a recent update, which was released to all users in March 2022.
The codename for this update is ‘Sun Valley 2’, which is unlikely to be its release name. This is the internal codename for parts of the next version of Windows 11 that is in development and has been made public by way of leaks from people with inside knowledge of Microsoft’s workings.
Since Windows 11 is a significant upgrade from Windows 10, such as a refreshed interface, redesigned Microsoft Store, and the return of widgets, Sun Valley 2 looks to build on top of Windows 11 but also improved some aspects in which users submitted feedback.
In Insider builds, users have discovered more apps that get the new Fluent Design, which is the overall look and feel of Windows 11. These apps have rounded corners, minimal extra more dependent on Ribbon view on operating systems since Windows 8 and more vibrant color scheme. There are also features announced last year that have yet to reach every Windows 11 user.
Android apps coming to Windows 11
Beta Channel testers with Windows 11 Build 22000.xxx or later will be able to try the redesigned Focus feature, but the February 2022 update is out, where you can test apps Android.
These originate in Amazon’s App Store instead of Google Play, as every app is tested and approved by Amazon, similar to Apple’s attempt with the App Store.
These apps will run similar to how iOS apps run on macOS, with apps like TikTok and Instagram running in windows.
However, there are already other ways to install Android apps directly without going through the Microsoft Store.
New OS Features for Windows 11 22H2 ‘Sun Valley 2’
This first update for Windows 11 looks to build on user feedback, along with more improvements that Microsoft didn’t have time to include in its initial November release.
One user-divided feature is the taskbar. The Start menu has been redesigned in Windows 11, but although the new look is a positive, some features already present in Windows 10, cannot be found here.
In Sun Valley 2, the taskbar looks to bring in some features and listen for some feedback, with drag and drop to get back to the taskbar.
Other operating system improvements are that more apps from Microsoft will be refreshed with the Smart Design language on Windows 11. Notepad is one of the examples for Sun Valley 2, which gets a dark mode and menu bar. reorganize.
While Paint is another application that derives from a refreshed interface, Microsoft surprised many people in late 2021 when it brought back Windows Media Player.
It will replace Groove Music, an app that debuted back in Windows 8 in 2012. This will be available in the Microsoft Store, but will appear as the default app for playing media files after Sun Valley 2 is available to everyone.
Windows 11 updates seem to be more than just visual flair, and Sun Valley 2 is no exception. There will be some changes below that are not user-facing, as always and some will be.
But from what Microsoft is working on and introducing through the Insider program, it’s clear that the company wants to update Windows 11 apps, not just front-end features.
How to check for Windows 11 22H2 Update before launching
Before Microsoft rolls out any major updates to Windows 11, it moves through different channels in the Windows Insider Program. There are different channels in the Insider Program regarding how long in advance you will be able to test new features, with the most dominant advantage being the ‘Development Channel’, which targets users most technical.
The ‘Dev Channel’ is where Sun Valley first started appearing, with build number 2200 coming in November 2021. More app updates for Paint and Windows Media Player are coming soon in the ‘Beta Channel’.
These will be trusted builds tied to future releases with Microsoft validated updates. Closer to launch, Windows 11 22H2 will hit the ‘Release Preview Channel’, which is the most stable channel in the Insider Program. Builds released for this channel are supported by Microsoft.
If you’re not already in the Windows Insider Program and you want to start testing future updates early, you can sign up right from the Settings app on your PC. Go to the ‘Update & Security’ section then select ‘Windows Insider Program’ and select the channel you want to join. You will then start receiving updates through ‘Windows Update’ on the PC corresponding to the channel you have joined.